The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) wants more wolves all across the United States so it followed through on a threat to file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation adamantly opposes such litigation and believes wolves need to be delisted nationwide and managed by state wildlife agencies just as they manage elk, mountain lions, deer, bears and other predator and prey species.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, the federal government tried several times during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations to permanently delist wolves yet each time environmentalist groups filed multiple lawsuits to gum up the process on technicalities.
Wolves are delisted in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming where populations are up to 400 percent above minimum recovery goals. Populations are also well above minimum recovery goals and state management plans in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, yet they remain listed due to environmental litigation.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief received nearly 1,100 reports which led to 76 citations for wildlife violations in 2017.
“Poachers are thieves. They do not represent the hunting community, and the majority of the reports come from hunters and anglers who are out in the field and witness suspicious activity,” said Scott Fischer, program manager for Operation Game Thief. “The hunting community does a great job of policing itself. If you see something, say something.
In 2017, wildlife violators were assessed $74,500 in civil fines, and that money goes directly into the department’s Wildlife Theft Prevention Fund, which pays for the rewards as well as promotion of Operation Game Thief. In addition, 51 individuals had their hunting and/or fishing license revoked by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission as part of their penalty, one of which was a lifetime revocation. The department receives no general fund money from the state of Arizona.
It’s also important to note that mistakes and accidents happen, and the department will work with hunters and anglers who immediately self-report their actions to the Operation Game Thief hotline.
“Mistakes happen in any endeavor, and the amazing thing about hunters is they frequently report themselves,” Fischer said. “Hunters respect wildlife and because of that respect they’re willing to risk penalties in order to ensure meat from the wildlife they take is not wasted.”
(Photo source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)